What do you get when you combine the laid-back attitude of an Australian with the swagger of a Tyrolean? When Australian open-mindedness meets Tyrolean humour; when the casual “mate” mentality of the Aussies mixes with the reliability of the Austrians? The answer is: the result is a really good ski instructor. Fortunately, we also have one of this type in our ski instructor range at element3: our half-Aussi-half-Tyrolean Johnny (aka Shevy/ aka John). The 19-year-old is passionate about skiing: “I could hardly wait to get people hooked on skiing!” he tells us when talking about his very first guest. “I was very lucky to grow up here in Kirchberg and Kitzbühel, so countless days after school, in the school holidays, after work or on holiday were filled with skiing. I want to pass on my passion to as many people as possible.” See the likeable local for yourself and find out in the interview what’s behind Johnny’s skiing motto “Never skip leg day”.
You are half Australian, half Austrian – which of your characteristics are more typically Australian and which are typically Austrian?
The fact that I abbreviate almost every word, making it almost impossible for some people to understand me, is pretty Australian, as is the attitude that everyone is my “mate”.
Typically Austrian: speaking in dialect, even though the other person doesn’t understand dialect. “A snack at 9e! It has to be!”
What some people don’t realise is that there are also some good ski resorts in Australia. Have you ever skied there or would you like to work there for a season?
Yes, it was brilliant! Back then I was in Perisher and Thredbo – two really nice ski resorts, but I liked Thredbo better. Yes, I could imagine working there for 2/3 weeks, but not the whole season, because I would miss the good mountain food in Kitz too much!!!
How long have you been working for element3?
I’ve been working at element3 since 2016, so this is now my fourth season and certainly not my last.
Can you remember the very first guest you taught?
Yes, my first guest was a young girl (about 10 years old). The girl’s parents had booked me for 3 days of private lessons. I wasn’t really nervous, much more I couldn’t wait to get someone hooked on skiing. In the days that followed, we had so much fun together that she said she didn’t want any other instructor but me. That was actually the main reason why I love teaching children and teenagers, because they bring so much passion with them.
If you could choose any famous person to go skiing with, who would it be?
Daron Rahlves – even when I was a little boy, Daron was my big role model. Back when he won the downhill in Kitzbühel, my father carried him into the legendary London. Daron gave my father a US Ski Team jacket, which my father gave to me shortly afterwards. We meet almost every year at the Hahnenkamm race, but we have never skied! A person with a big heart.
What are your hobbies?
Obviously skiing, but also weightlifting and swimming
Your favourite hut on the mountain?
Sorry Lisi (Hahnenkammstüberl) – you may have the best Kaiserschmarren, but my heart beats for GAUXER STADL
Your favourite slope in Kitz?
“Raintal” – no question, my favourite piste for as long as I can remember
What would your perfect day of skiing look like?
Erste Aufzüge. Blauer Vogel. 1m Powder. Nur mein Vater und ich beim Shredden!!! Nach so einem Tag braucht man kein Aprés Ski, sondern nur ein Schnitzel im Gauxer Stadl!
First gondola or après ski?
Erste Gondel! Warum fragen Sie überhaupt?
Your tip for people who want to improve their skiing:
Ski every day, in any snow and any weather! Skiers who can ski in any weather can also ski really well!
Your coolest moment as a ski instructor in Kitzbühel so far
When a child I taught over the Christmas holidays came up to me, thanked me and said: “You’ve shown me the love of skiing! I want to ski as well as you one day!”
Deep snow or piste?
Powder pig through and through!
You are very sporty. How much does it help skiers to be physically fit and what sports can you recommend for people to get better on skis?
Since I’ve been lifting weights, I’m much more stable on my skis! I can only recommend everyone to do some kind of strength training, as it helps you to be more stable on your skis and to ski faster. Don’t forget: Never skip Legday!
What do you love most about your job as a ski instructor?
There is one big reason why I am a ski instructor: To pass on my passion for skiing.